When Jack Fry first heard Dave Liniger talk about Motto Mortgage, he was intrigued by the idea of offering loan origination services alongside his award-winning RE/MAX brokerage in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. He recognized the business value of being able to assist homebuyers through a longer stretch of the process, and relished the fact that Motto Mortgage was a ready-to-go franchise concept built by Liniger and a team of RE/MAX pros.
So Fry – leader of the country’s most productive single RE/MAX office for five years running – dove in.
“This is a smart step for my business,” says the 40-year real estate veteran who joined the RE/MAX network in 1980. “And it would’ve been a massive undertaking to start from scratch myself.”
Fry spent about 90 days this spring getting licensing in order and interviewing loan originators. On July 1, he opened Motto Mortgage Center, one of the first Motto Mortgage franchises to open in his state.
“We’re part of something dynamic and truly groundbreaking,” he says. “We’re really excited about it.”
Here’s a brief Q&A with one of the most well-known, collaborative and successful RE/MAX Broker/Owners in the system, on why he’s also become one of the first Motto Mortgage franchisees.
Congratulations on your new Motto Mortgage franchise! How did you decide to move forward?
Having the corporate structure in place, with a model that focuses on compliance with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) requirements, caught my attention. I also have complete confidence in Dave Liniger and RE/MAX. I knew this would be done right and tweaked along the way as needed.
What does a Motto Mortgage brokerage mean for your RE/MAX office, your Associates and their clients?
This gives our 150 agents the ability to be more involved in their clients’ real estate experience. It’s going to add a lot more convenience for our clients, and I expect it to streamline communications between agents and loan originators under one umbrella of leadership.
Has it impacted your recruiting and retention for your RE/MAX office?
There’s no financial benefit to my real estate agents, but us having more control on the lending end of the transaction will help them in other ways. Fewer problems. Less frustration. Fewer chances of derailed purchases and disappointed buyers. We’ll be able to provide an even higher level of quality service and added convenience to their clients and that’s a big win. It’s a matter of the left hand knowing what the right hand is doing because they’re a part of the same body. You don’t always get that when you’re working with some lenders, especially if they’re not communicative or transparent as things move along.
How has it been entering the mortgage business with a real estate background?
The team at Motto Headquarters has done a great job educating me, and I’ve been like a sponge learning everything I can. Heck, I’ve been in the real estate business for over 40 years, and I learn new things every day as the industry evolves. Our RE/MAX office mission statement is “Quality living, embracing change and serving others.” I’ve never believed in sitting still. Embracing change is what this new journey is all about.
Have there been any surprises along the way?
We’ve gone from 0 to 60 pretty darn fast. We have one loan originator signed on, and we’ve interviewed several others. Honestly, I thought it’d be a little easier to recruit established loan originators in our market, but we’re determined to add loan originators who will be a good fit for our culture, and that takes a little more time. Introducing Motto Mortgage into our market has been met with some resistance from the local lender community, but I think it’s because they know it’s such a strong concept. We’ll overcome any challenges through time and results; just like RE/MAX did.
The most daunting part of the process is probably the licensing. But Motto Headquarters was on it, providing me with someone to help me through every step in the state process. That support was incredibly valuable.
How are your two offices set up?
We’re all housed in one office building, with a separate suite for Motto Mortgage on the second floor. With this setup, agents can stop in anytime to talk to the loan originators and get right to the source if an issue comes up. There’s no phone tag or unreturned calls. Our loan originators will be in a fishbowl, which will build accountability and help us all communicate better.
Are you pleased with your decision so far?
I think it’s going to be a home run. So yes, I definitely am.